How to install a WordPress plugin

How to install WordPress plugins

Where to find plugins

When I’m looking for a new plugin, I’ll always start at the WordPress repository:

These are the same plugins that you’ll see in your admin dashboard when you go to Plugins » Add New.

All of the plugins here have been vetted by the WordPress team. Although their vetting process doesn’t guarantee a “perfect” plugin (there’s no such thing), it’s definitely safer than downloading a plugin from some random dude’s website you found from a Google search. (His plugin might be just great, but it’s harder to know for sure.)

If I can’t find what I’m looking for there, I’ll switch to Google. Simply search for the functionality you want, and include the words “wordpress plugin.” Odds are good something will turn up.

Before installing any plugins, check out these five things to consider before choosing a WordPress plugin.

To install a plugin from the WordPress repository

If you know that the plugin you’d like to install is in the repository, go to Plugins » Add New, and search for the name in the top-right corner.

How to search for WordPress pLugins

Locate the correct plugin, and then click the “Install Now” button. That will download the files to your server, and install the plugin.

Install a plugin from the WordPress repository

After it’s installed, the button will change to “Activate.” Click that and it should be ready to go within just a few seconds.

To install a plugin from somewhere else

Many plugins are not hosted in the main repository – this is usually the case for premium (paid) plugins. To install one of those, first download the plugin zipfile to your computer. Do not unzip it, just make a note of where you saved it.

If you buy the plugin directly from the developer, after your purchase they’ll usually provide a download link. If they provide a license key, you should also make a note of that as well (Pro Tip: Store your license key in your password manager).

On the Add Plugins page, click the “Upload Plugin” button at the top.

Upload Plugin button screenshot

Then click the “Choose File” button and select the zipfile from your computer. Then once you see the correct filename, click “Install Now”.

Install Now button screenshot

Once it’s uploaded, the screen will reload. Click the Activate Plugin button, and you should be all set.

If you get an error message because the zipfile is too large, you may need to contact your hosting company and ask them to increase the “PHP upload limit” for your account.

After you activate a new plugin, if it requires any configuration, be sure to go through and set it up right away, and then test your site to be sure all is well.

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